Thursday, June 04, 2015

Go to Germany

How US students get a university degree for free in Germany
More than 4,600 US students are fully enrolled at Germany universities, an increase of 20% over three years. At the same time, the total student debt in the US has reached $1.3 trillion (£850 billion).

Each semester, Hunter pays a fee of €111 ($120) to the Technical University of Munich (TUM), one of the most highly regarded universities in Europe, to get his degree in physics.

Included in that fee is a public transportation ticket that enables Hunter to travel freely around Munich.

Health insurance for students in Germany is €80 ($87) a month, much less than what Amy would have had to pay in the US to add him to her plan.

"The healthcare gives her peace of mind," says Hunter. "Saving money of course is fantastic for her because she can actually afford this without any loans."

To cover rent, mandatory health insurance and other expenses, Hunter's mother sends him between $6,000-7,000 each year.

At his nearest school back home, the University of South Carolina, that amount would not have covered the tuition fees. Even with scholarships, that would have totalled about $10,000 a year. Housing, books and living expenses would make that number much higher.

The simple maths made Hunter's job of convincing his mother easy.

"You have to pay for my college, mom - do you want to pay this much or this much?"
"If we ignore the question of how to finance an outstanding university in the future we will not continue to have outstanding universities in Germany." Dr Herrmann says. "Education, teaching and research are very intimately connected with money. That's a global law we cannot escape."

An amount of €5,000-10,000 ($5,400-11,000) would be appropriate, says Dr Herrmann, who thinks these fees would also see an increase in services for international students.

But students and educators alike are warning that even the smallest fees could bring an end to the flow of talent to Germany from certain parts of the world.

"I definitely think a limited amount would be fair for American students," says Katherine, who finished her degree in Cottbus and is now living in Berlin.

"But they also have to consider students who come from developing countries that can't pay these kind of tuition fees."
Germany should consider the program an immigration plan and require the students to live and work in Germany for 5 years after graduation. By using the university filter, as the U.S. does to some degree, it can serve as a high standards immigration program.

Katherine also decided to stay after graduation and moved to Berlin to work for a start-up association. Sitting in a trendy cafe where the bartender speaks little German but fluent English, Katherine says this experience made her question the way education is financed in the US.
It used to be that way, until a wave of Third World immigration hit, Congress started subsidizing a partially privatized system and a massive credit bubble was blown by central bankers.

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